HADLEIGH SALVATION ARMY COLONY RAILWAY
By H W Paar with additional article by Graham Cook
This booklet describes the unique system of railways and tramways built at the end of the 19th century across what are today’s Hadleigh Country Park and remaining Salvation Army farm land. The area originally covered some 3,500 acres.
The farm used to be called the colony. The founder General William Booth had a vision to create a social environment whereby destitute people from London could rebuild their lives.
Not only did the Salvation Army create a conventional farm but it constructed three bricks works where not only bricks were made, but roof tiles too. In order to move the bricks to the loading dock on Hadleigh Ray, for shipment by Thames barges, a series railways or tramlines were laid across clay and marshland. Considering the terrain this was a major engineering achievement in itself.
For over 20 years steam engines puffed up and down the slopes of Hadleigh, something that it difficult to imagine now. Today the brickworks, the steam engines, the railway infrastructure and the metal rails are long gone but some of the earthworks for embankments and the piles for the jetty still remain.